– Marlo Thomas
I’m sorry, but I have to call “bull crap” on Marlo Thomas’s quote. While I appreciate her optimism, the realist in me wonders, where on earth is she coming from? It begs the question, when did she write this and where was she when she did?
From my vantage point here in 2017, I find the planet is far from communal, and the collective spirit of neighbors is in desperate need of some newly found inspiration. During this Christmas season, our world is growing increasingly fractured. Just take America, for instance. Some American Christians have turned their back on Muslim refugees fleeing war-torn countries. White nationalism has taken off its hood and stands defiantly in the broad daylight while Black people in America continue to be systemically oppressed, judged, and persecuted because of the color of their skin. No matter their legal status, Latinos are increasingly viewed as illegal immigrants, outsiders who need to “go back to where they came from.” Generationally poor Americans really have no opportunity to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” in a land where profit is more important than people. Meanwhile, everyone wants personal fulfillment and will buy most anything claiming to provide it. That’s our reality.
So, with sincere faith and deep hope, let’s declare this: Our different cultures notwithstanding, this Christmas season there’s everything about the love of Christ that demands us to work towards a communal human family! Even our neighbors who do not celebrate Christmas are not outside God’s all-encompassing love. God’s love that requires justice and mercy convicts us to look upon every face the world over as our neighbor, to feel every human suffering as our own, to demand changes to our human system so that it resembles the Kingdom of God where everyone has a seat of equality and dignity at God’s banquet table. Beyond the universe of twinkling stars and with divine music born deep within the hearts of God’s people, may God use this Christmas to remove from our eyes the scales of privilege, elitism, and Christian superiority complexes so that we may see and be inspired to truly Love.
Prayer: Open our hearts, O Lord, that we may truly live in love.